385. Beyond Prepping: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Food Forest w/ Jim Gale

Jim Gale

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Abundancy expert, Jim Gale, educates us on finding food sovereignty in your backyard and how growing our own nourishment is society’s most prudent move toward a sustainable future. 

Jim Gale is a passionate advocate, teacher, and speaker for the decentralization of society's most important pillars - food, water, energy, money, medicine, and education. He imagines a world of abundance, with edible landscapes, local power, clean water, food as medicine, and Permaculture education everywhere! 

Food Forest Abundance was established in 2020 as a way to help people grow their own food and has blossomed into a global movement to help people become more self-reliant.

Since their official launch on Earth Day 2021, they have expanded throughout most of the United States and into 15 other countries.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

We may be starved of our freedom, but we do not need to go hungry. Food sovereignty is my next goal as we enter a new year – and potential apocalypse. I’m not talking about hoarding cans of beans from the supermarket. Instead, I’m exploring how we can create a sustainable, healthy food revolution in your own backyard. It’s called a Food Forest. 

Jim Gale, the mastermind behind Food Forest Abundance, is here to fertilize your curiosity. He’s on a mission to facilitate food forests in every (misused) lawn and corner of soil in the world. In this episode, we discuss how to grow your own food, profit from produce, and create an abundant food ecosystem for generations to come! 

05:19 — What is a Food Forest?

19:48 — Improving Urban Landscapes 

  • Why now is the time to learn to grow our own food 
  • Why centralization is the enemy to a sustainable food future 
  • Making vegetables thrive in your own backyard, with or without sun 
  • Storage of excess food + eating according to seasons

38:41 — The Hierarchy of Food

  • Whole foods vs. poisoned food
  • Timespan between farm to  aisle 
  • How plants support one another 
  • What a sustainable food system looks like
  • The act of food as a “re-LOVE-ution” 
  • Calculating the investment to grow your own 
  • The timespan to grow plants, fruits, and vegetables 
  • Micronutrients found in dirt 

55:09 — Keeping Soil Robust

  • The best way to compost
  • Natural pest control and why we don’t need to fear bugs 
  • The poison we feed ourselves with programing 
  • Keeping deer out of your garden 
  • How to become part of the supply chain 
  • Integrating medicinal plants into permaculture

01:14:41 —How to Participate In a New Food Economy 

  • How you can imitate Jim Gale’s business model for yourself 
  • Scaling globally and profitability 
  • The bio-marketing package to help you get to market 
  • Why food sovereignty is the most revolutionary act you can do

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Luke Storey: Man, there's so much to talk about. It's like I know where to start, but I kind of don't know where to start, because I have so many questions for you.

[00:00:11] Jim Gale: Alright.

[00:00:11] Luke Storey: I think first off, let's just dive right into it. You've been on a number of podcasts, and you've told your story in Costa Rica, and kind of how you got into that. And I think selfishly, because I've already heard someone's origin story, I always just want to skip it. So, I want to recommend people go listen to The Highwire, some other shows you've done, and get into some of your history. Not to discount that, but I really want to get into the meat of this topic and provide people with some value. So, let's just start out with the obvious question, the low-hanging fruit, no pun intended, what is a Food Forest?

[00:00:42] Jim Gale: A Food Forest is a designed plant system that mimics natural systems that provides a yield for humans. So, in other words, if you look at the forest down the road, it's probably got a lot of stuff in there that you can eat. Most people don't know what that is. In fact, I'm going to be learning about foraging from some different people, including, hopefully, Les Stroud. We're in talks.

[00:01:06] Luke Storey: Nice.

[00:01:06] Jim Gale: Yeah, I love that guy. And so, a Food Forest is a design system that will have all of the perennials and some annuals that the customer wants. And it's all put together in a way, where it's very, very low maintenance. In fact, it could be zero maintenance. If you don't care how it looks, if you are okay with it just being a jungle of food, then you can leave it and it will be a jungle of food, or you can treat it like landscaping. You can have it manicured, and pruned, and all fancy, and then it's beautiful and it's still going to be highly productive.

[00:01:42] Luke Storey: Awesome. I don't know if you've heard of Daniel Vitalis. He's a friend of mine. He's been on the show a couple of times. We've been on each other's shows a bunch of times, but he's been into wild food foraging, and now, hunting and fishing for the past couple of years heavily. And I remember him talking years ago about not only the nutritional density of wild plants, but also the variety. And he explains how when you go in the grocery store, and you go in the fruit and vegetable section, you think that there's 25 different vegetables, but they're actually just kind of hybrids of the origin species like a broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, et cetera, basically the same plant with, essentially, the same nutrient profile.

[00:02:28] And I always found that to be really interesting in thinking about our evolution in terms of the variety of things that our ancestors, as hunter-gatherers, were eating right prior to agriculture. So, when it comes to permaculture, is it possible to get heirloom seeds and things that are not as hybridized and create, obviously, you wouldn't have the same level of diversity within nature, but can we create a yard, or whatever, property we're working with so that we just have more diversity than you would at a grocery store?

[00:03:03] Jim Gale: Incredibly more. And that's part of the strength and the resiliency of a food for a system, is having an incredible variety of different types of food. And I'll give you an example. My buddy, Chad Johnson, one of our designers, and just an amazing and connected to nature human being, he has a Food Forest in Northern Minnesota, off the tip of Lake Superior, that has 300 different species of edible and medicinal plants that he planted, then he's got nature coming into his system and planting more things, then he's got nature taking the things that are in his system and bringing them out into the forest that surrounds his property.

[00:03:44] So, it's expansive on its own. If that Food Forest was left on its own without poisons and all the destruction that has been happening around the world of these natural systems, it would literally cover the Earth over a certain amount of time. And he has no fences. Now, I love fences, because I love turning them into food fences, like trellises, like grapevines, and passion flower, and all these different things, and they do speed up the time that you can get harvest.

[00:04:13] So, in other words, if you've got a property that has a lot of deer or different kind of animals, you put up a fence, you're going to speed it up. What he did, because he was really looking at proving this over time is he created rasp-barriers, eight-foot tall raspberry bushes that are so thick, you can't see through them, and even a moose wouldn't walk through those thorny things. So, he's got these raspberries around all of his different types of plants. It's absolutely fantastic.

[00:04:41] Luke Storey: Well, I remember when I was a kid in Northern California, there would be big blackberry bushes, and we would run around the apple orchards, and eat apples, and the vineyards up there, we'd eat grapes, so I'm kind of used to, as a kid, just grabbing food. But those blackberry bushes, man, nothing's getting through them, right? I remember we try to cut our way in there, because you couldn't get to some of them, and they're ferocious plants, so I can see how that would be definitely useful when you're trying to keep some of the larger animals out.

[00:05:11] Jim Gale: Big time. And functional. We're talking about stacking functions. So, if you want a berry or you want a fence, you might as well make it more beautiful animal habitat, attraction for pollinators, and edible.

[00:05:22] Luke Storey: You were telling me, or maybe I heard you on Del Bigtree show that in Texas, grapes grow really well, and that if you have fencing around your property, why aren't you growing grapes? So, did I get that right?

[00:05:33] Jim Gale: You got that right. In fact, at Adrian's place, I believe he's got six types of grapes growing and he's going to create wine out of those grapes over time. So, six different types, and in a relatively small area, he can do 300 to 500 bottles of wine per year.

[00:05:48] Luke Storey: What?

[00:05:49] Jim Gale: Yeah, isn't that amazing?

[00:05:51] Luke Storey: That's crazy. Well, I was thinking about, have you been out to Fredericksburg?

[00:05:55] Jim Gale: I've heard of it, I haven't, yeah.

[00:05:56] Luke Storey: It's maybe an hour away from here, and I think they call it the Napa of Texas. And they have an emerging kind of culture of vineyards and a lot of kind of farm-to-table food. It's a cool little town. It's kind of modeled after a German village. It's really weird. You're driving downtown, you're like, what? Why is this in Texas? But that's, I think, when I first got the knowledge that you could grow grapes here, it's just, I don't know, Texas is kind of weird, because there doesn't seem to be a lot of agriculture here. So when you drive around, no one's really growing anything except lawns, which we're going to talk about. So, I kind of came to Texas thinking, I probably can't grow anything here. Is that a fallacy?

[00:06:38] Jim Gale: It is a fallacy. Anywhere that you walk outside and you have plants, you can strategically plant and have a Food Forest. And in fact, we just looked up the tundra plants and we found like three different species of plants, one on the herbaceous layer, and a couple of different shrubs and bushes that you can eat, right? And that is literally the most inhospitable climate in the world for growing, right?

[00:07:04] So, when you come to a place like Texas, with the proper design elements, number one being catch and store water in most places in Texas. Now, some places get more rain than others. Some places, it's really easy. Some places, you have to put a little more thought into that design process. Build a ditch on contour. It could be six inches wide. It could be six feet wide.

[00:07:26] Most of the time in a backyard, it's a tiny little ditch on contour. That way, when the water, when it does rain, even if it only rains once every two or three months in certain areas, the water hits the ground and it starts collecting nutrients as it's going usually off of your property, with the nutrients, with the topsoil. So, when you have a swale, the water stops, it slows, and it settles with the water going into the system and the nutrients staying right there.

[00:07:53] Luke Storey: In terms of utilizing rainwater in that way, how necessary is it to have a full-on catchment system? Some of the properties here, some of the larger properties will have, I don't know, I guess it comes off the roof, and there are pipes that go into a big cistern, and they're actually—one house I stayed here in an Airbnb was exclusively run on rainwater. So, are there different degrees of like rainwater catchment apart from what you just spoke of?

[00:08:20] Jim Gale: Absolutely. There's the standard like off the roof into the container catchment systems, and then the ones I'm talking about are using natural catchment systems in the Earth.

[00:08:31] Luke Storey: Oh, okay.

[00:08:31] Jim Gale: A little bit different.

[00:08:32] Luke Storey: Because in our yard, it's on a bit of a hill, which you'll see on Saturday. And we bought the house, and then the sellers were kind enough to offer to recede the lawn in the backyard, because it was all just kind of dirt, and then the big freeze happened and it killed all the seedlings of the grass. So, we came, and then we haven't gotten a landscaping yet, but what I noticed is there was a fair amount of soil in the backyard when we first arrived, and then we had a lot of rain this season. And I want to go back there, it's all just gravel, what I'm sensing, since it's on a hill and no one's managing the resource of water there, that it's kind of just eroding, as you said, all of the soil that's been created by the plants, et cetera, and now, it's gravel, and I'm thinking, how did anything ever grow here?

[00:09:20] Jim Gale: That is one of the best functions of a lawn, is erosion control. So, a lawn does have a yield, and I don't hate lawns, a lot of people think that I'm the lawn hater, what I hate is the imbalance of it all. Like the 40 to 50 million acres of lawn around the United States, if we turn 50% of that into perennial edible landscapes or Food Forests, we would reverse mass extinction and deforestation, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and we would get a lot of food, and we would be healthier. We would reduce our insurance bills. We would reduce our family's likelihood of getting cancer massively. And of course, we would increase our food security and the beauty that's in our yard.

[00:10:02] Luke Storey: I wonder why more environmental activists aren't getting behind this movement or are they and I'm just not aware of it?

[00:10:10] Jim Gale: It depends who's paying them, for real. If it's the powers that be paying them, then they have a different narrative that does not include true regeneration of our world. Their narrative is very much more about control. And in the case of the environmentalists who actually understand permaculture, which there are, I would say, thousands at minimum, but possibly millions around the world, who have proven what I'm saying in every zone, in every climate. And they're demonstrating it, which is so important nowadays, to demonstrate and to prove to the world, look, this is how much time I spend in my Food Forest, and I don't work a day in my Food Forest, I want to be there, I'm looking for reasons to just stand there and look around.

[00:10:53] Luke Storey: It brings me back to an experiment I did when I was living in LA. I was there for 32 years, and at some point, I don't remember how I found it, but it was like an urban garden company that would come out with these hydroponic trays of vegetables and stuff. And if you had space for it, they'd come in, and install it, and they would come maintain it to a certain degree. And I realized when I did that, even despite that they would come check on them, I was like, I can't do this, like who has time for this? Like one time, I think I was growing squash and I put it up on the roof of my apartment building without anyone's permission, which is typically how I do things.

[00:11:32] I like to say, ask for forgiveness, not permission. But raccoons started getting into it. And I thought, man, that, this home farming stuff is really hard, because I don't want to hurt the raccoons. Eventually, I think I devised this little, I don't want to trap them or poison them, or animal control is not going to come out for an urban garden, so I devised this little, how do I say it? Wasn't a trap, but I basically put a stick with this little board that would flip over if they stepped on it, and I put a bunch of cayenne pepper on there.

[00:12:03] Jim Gale: Oh, that's awesome.

[00:12:05] Luke Storey: So that when they stepped on it, poof, they would hopefully not come back, and it actually worked, which is the funny thing, because I came back and exit was kind of a trap. It had been set and activated, and then that was the end of them. They never came back.

[00:12:16] Jim Gale: That's fantastic.

[00:12:17] Luke Storey: But eventually, I just kind of gave up. It was just even with that, I was like, God, for four pieces of squash, I'm out there how many hours, but it was a system unlike yours with permaculture, where I was like fighting against the urban landscape rather than finding a way to work with it. So, what's the difference between this kind of modern, urban, faux utopian dream people have of turning cities and buildings into places where you grow versus actually working with the land itself?

[00:12:47] Jim Gale: This is something that I've spent 14 years, more years of the mistake of trying to improve on what nature does. I've built massive hydroponic systems in off grid, all sorts of dehydration, and all this. And when I got some criticism by somebody here named Jack, who is the angry permaculturalist. I love the guy. He's one of my consultants. He basically said, you're crazy, that's not how to do it, use the soil, work with the soil. I built these fancy greenhouses, and then I started, I listened to him, because I respected him, even though he was giving me a ton of shit, and I'm like, okay, what is the best return for society? What's this scalable idea?

[00:13:31] And in fact, this is Victor Hugo's quote, there's one thing stronger than all of the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come. And I sat with that, I meditated with that. And the idea is like a seed. It's planted within all of our consciousness. The idea of the abundance of the Garden of Eden is not a utopian fantasy. It's literally the next logical step for humanity.

[00:13:55] It's perennial edible landscapes working with the soil. Instead of having hydroponic parts, and mechanics, and all the different pumps, and things that you need, it's better to just put the same amount of time and energy, for instance, our greenhouse, it would have been a retail of a minimum of $25,000, and it would have produced X amount of return on investment, probably got a return in about seven or eight years. With a Food Forest, you'll have a 25,000-dollar return much more quickly than that, and it'll just keep going, and going, and going, and you'd never need to replace a part.

[00:14:31] Luke Storey: Wow. So cool. What do you think is so pertinent at this time for people to really start to embrace this? I know even moderate people that aren't conspiracy theorists and aren't into some of the things that I'm into researching and understanding, or at least think I am understanding, in the era of the plandemic and all this, I think even kind of regular normal people are getting a sense that we must learn how to become interdependent and less dependent on the grocery store and the whole kind of agricultural system. What's your kind of perspective on what's going on right now? And if things get much worse, what does that look like, and why is the time so critical right now that we embrace these ideas?

[00:15:24] Jim Gale: Well, time is of the essence. And if I have only one concern, it's that I didn't start this soon enough. And so, the idea of centralization has led to six corporations basically being in control of almost all of the world's food supply. And those six corporations are run by the same corporations, which are run by the same families, which have controlled the masses forever. So, it's not a conspiracy theory, it's just these corporations exist, and that's how it goes. But if the problem is centralization and monocultures, which take poisons, because a monoculture, the way they do it is not a natural system. 

[00:16:07] It's unnatural, where we're growing rice in a desert, we're growing all these greens in a desert, and then we're shipping them three thousand miles away from the West Coast to the East Coast to different places. It's radically unsustainable. So, that's the problem. The solution, as Bill Mollison said, though, the problems of our world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple. Embarrassingly simple. We just plant food. We plant food. If we just took our ornamental landscapes and added the function of food and medicine production, if that's all we did, we would have an incredibly healthy society.

[00:16:46] Luke Storey: Is it feasible that someone with, I guess, an average sized suburban plot of land could grow enough food to feed three or four-person family? Like can you get enough caloric density out of that without having too much reliance on animal products, et cetera? I think for me, and I was a vegetarian for almost 10 years, and I was always starving, because I was living on carbohydrates, and yeah, I could never get full. And so, people ask me now, what do you eat?

[00:17:19] And I'm like, it's boring, but I could probably just eat like beef, and some fats, and maybe a vegetable every once in a while, and ice cream. So, like it's hard for me to imagine not having an abundance of meat to the point where I went and bought a quarter steer before I left LA, and it's in my freezer at the house now. It'll probably take me a year to get through it, but let's just say my freezer goes out, all that meat rots, and goes to waste, and all the grocery stores shut down, and I've got a food for us in my backyard, like how can I get full and feed my family? Is that feasible?

[00:17:52] Jim Gale: So, we love incorporating animals into a system. And on a suburban backyard, you can grow all the food that your family needs to survive. Now, if it's a quarter acre, this has been demonstrated, even there's a house in California on a tenth of an acre that provides all the food the family needs. And when you bring chickens into the system, maybe a pond with some fish, and then you start cycling fish into the system, and then you use that effluent to actually water the plants.

[00:18:20] So, you catch water from rain, rainwater catchment, you put it into the pond, and then you use that effluent, and then, boom, it just explodes, the chicken manure. Chickens are such incredible assets. There are so many functionalities of a chicken. They can be protective, they can eat the bugs, they can eat the ticks, they can create heat for a greenhouse. There's all these different ways to combine these elements in which they serve each other, and that very much mimics a natural system. So, the answer is yes, you absolutely can.

[00:18:52] Right now, I'm a big fan of a combination of annuals and perennials. Long term, I'm all about perennials, because perennials, it can literally be no maintenance. Annuals are a little more maintenance, but when you turn maintenance into a meditation, maintenance into a joy, then you're serving so many functions of your life. So, yes, and there's a few particular things like potatoes, and sweet potatoes, the starches, yuccas, different things that are very low maintenance and that are like nutrient-dense, like sweet potatoes, and they're so easy to grow.

[00:19:26] Luke Storey: What are some of the other things that one might want to store? When I think about emergency preparedness or just being self-sufficient, of course, having a freezer full of frozen meat feels nice, but let's say that wasn't there, one thing that I always come to is fats. I want to have some vats of coconut oil, and ghee, and things like that, which I think, say, like all I've got to eat are my sweet potatoes that I'm growing in my Food Forest, throw some ghee in there, you got a meal, then you've got some complex carbs and you've got like healthy fats. What other kind of things are good for people aside from growing to maybe just get into storage that will actually last?

[00:20:03] Jim Gale: Well, lard, ghee, that is fantastic. In fact, that saved many people's lives throughout the Great Depression. And people would add some of that to their meals, all their meals. Microgreens. For people who want something that's relatively easy and quick, you can harvest microgreens in like 14 days. I turned my whole garage into a microgreens garage at one point. Now, I realized how much work that is, and I don't want to do that kind of work. My job is to be an effective inspirer and to demonstrate what's possible from a perspective that the average suburban homeowner will say, I can do that. In fact, that's a no brainer, I want to do that for every reason. Out of selfish reasons, this is something that I'm helping people see that this is good on every level.

[00:20:54] Luke Storey: And what about the storage of excess food? Let's say you're four years into your Food Forest, and you've got peach trees, and cherry trees, and apples, whatever, and you're actually producing more food than your immediate family and friends can consume, I remember back in the day my grandparents were canning. Canning was like a thing, right? Fermenting foods. What are some ways that one could actually preserve those for hard times, or say, you produced a lot during the growing season, you want to make it through the winter, et cetera?

[00:21:25] Jim Gale: Yeah. So, my mom grew up on a farm in Southern Minnesota, Madelia, Minnesota, and she had no running water and no electricity until she was 15 years old, and they produced all of the food they ate on the property, and canning is huge. Now, what I've learned in Costa Rica, we created an off-grid dehydrating system, where we used the sun and some simple boxes, like you can take a box, like a four-by-eight box, paint it black, and put some plexiglass or some glass on top. 

[00:21:54] In fact, I found a door that somebody was discarding in the road the other day, and I grabbed it, it was a glass door, beautiful door, like a storm door. I grabbed it and we're making a dehydrator out of that. And we'll have about a six-inch space, the Sun will hit that, it'll heat up that box to a couple of hundred degrees or 140, 180 degrees, and then heat rises.

[00:22:15] So then, we put a box in there with some shelves, and we chopped, and we sliced up at a quarter inch, an eighth of an inch, all the different fruits and veggies, we lay them on those trays, and then the air goes up and it sucks all the moisture out of those plants. And then, you'd paint the chimney black. So, the sun hits the chimney and heats up the air in the chimney, so it creates a suction. It just goes right through, it takes all the moisture out, and now, those plants, without any effort, can store for a year, those dehydrated apples, and mangoes, and whatever you have. With a little vacuum seal, you can store them for five years or more.

[00:22:53] Luke Storey: That's crazy. So, because you're creating that suction, you don't have issues with mold.

[00:22:57] Jim Gale: Exactly. If it gets rainy, if it gets wet out, and then, all of a sudden, you stop the process mid-stream, you can have mold issues, so you want to pick a good day, where it's sunny, and boom, you can get those dehydrated in eight hours. Sometimes, it takes a little longer, and now, you've got something that you can use all winter long as a snack.

[00:23:15] Luke Storey: What about people that live in an area, Portland, Oregon, or somewhere where they don't get much sun?

[00:23:22] Jim Gale: It's going to be a little harder in areas like that. You're going to want to pick some sunny days for dehydration, but in the fall-

[00:23:28] Luke Storey: I mean, even just for growing.

[00:23:30] Jim Gale: Oh, growing, well, Portland's loaded with plants, like Portland's a jungle. I haven't been there for like 30 years, but last time I was there, I remember how lush and dense the forests around Portland were. So, there are plants that are good for that zone. In every zone, there are plants that are natural and successful in that zone.

[00:23:52] Luke Storey: I guess if you're growing plants that are successful wherever you live geographically, by default, you would also be eating seasonally and locally, right? I mean, I've interviewed people like Jack Kruse, and there are a lot of really intelligent people that have talked about, and it gets complex, it's circadian biology and stuff, where if you're living in Idaho, and it's January, and you get bananas sent in from Mexico, and you're eating those, your body actually doesn't know what to do with them, because of where you are in relationship to the sun, so it's like a foreign substance. It's a whole thing. But I think this would kind of solve that problem, right? Because it's either going to bear food and fruit or not, depending on where you are and when it is.

[00:24:37] Jim Gale: Yeah. There's something magical about our connection to the natural system, and we've gotten so disconnected with that. I was talking to an archaeologist the other day who was sharing exactly what you were sharing about seasonal foods, and our bodies are meant to store at certain times of year, and they're meant to do other types of energy activities like harvesting at other times of year. And so, when we eat according to the seasons, we're actually healthier and more energized.

[00:25:04] Luke Storey: Wow. So cool. And then, what about the layout of a permaculture setup? I've looked at your blueprints and things like that, and it's really ingenious, where you'll have a perennial that produces a bunch of shade, right? And then, there are herbs underneath that, and there's this really complex, yet logical system of kind of stacking things so that their relationship to the sun is appropriate at the right time, and all that. Break that down a bit for us.

[00:25:30] Jim Gale: Well, like what we're doing in Florida, there's not as many deciduous trees, like in Minnesota, all of them, except for the pines, pretty much our deciduous, they drop their leaves in the fall. In Florida, there's a few, so we're going to plant the right types of deciduous trees on the south-facing side of our house. So, let's say in the winter, they drop their leaves and we get the sun. In the summer, they're full and we shade from the sun. And that's just one example. Another one, we just planted bananas and papayas, which are relatively fast-growing next to a bunch of different longevity spinach, Okinawa spinach, Surinam spinach that like to be understory.

[00:26:10] They don't like the sun. So, these plants will come up and they'll create shades, so those plants might get two or three hours of sun a day, where the plants that like all the sun, which would create the shade, they'll get all the sun of the day. So, it's basically mimicking that natural system, finding out what works with what. And yeah, it's really just looking and observing nature, and saying, oh, why is that plant there? And then, that's what these permaculturalists have done, well, for decades now, is they figured it out, and then they've shared it with the world.

[00:26:42] Luke Storey: It makes a lot of sense. If you think about going into Redwood Grove, where only the tops of those trees are getting direct sun, and if it's in a place like the Pacific Northwest, maybe even not that much, right? When you go to one of those forests, I've always found it so interesting how you have moss, and ferns, and all of these just really beautiful and more fragile plants that exist on the forest floor that are getting no sun, but they're still flourishing and green. I mean, I don't know how many of them are edible, but you can kind of see an extreme example of that, or in the Amazon, it seems like the Amazon, it's almost like a Food Forest in and of itself, and in tropical areas like that, where everything's kind of already doing what you describe. And in those tropical areas, a lot of it is edible.

[00:27:31] Jim Gale: Yeah. And the Amazon was a designed Food Forest 5,000 years ago.

[00:27:35] Luke Storey: Really?

[00:27:35] Jim Gale: Yeah. Archaeologist, there's a bunch of different studies out there showing the pathways, showing the agricultural systems that they created. I think it was the Incas, it was the Mayans or Indians, I think it's the Incas in most of the Amazon, where they actually created these Food Forests, and when they left or however they're gone, they just continued to thrive. And that's why it's such an abundant and diverse place. It was designed to create a lot of food.

[00:28:04] Luke Storey: And what about the location of plants? I remember, again, on Del's show, he had a pretty decent-sized piece of land, and you were talking about, well, we put the potatoes way out there in the field, and then the access to the food that you're going to be harvesting as you get closer to the house kind of was common sense, where the herbs are right outside the kitchen door, for example, because you just want easy access. Break down kind of the perimeter of location in terms of how far out you go with the different plants.

[00:28:34] Jim Gale: Cool. So, it's all about energy, right? And the more return on our energy investment that we can get, the better. So, herbs and things that you're going to want for like a daily use, you want them as close to where you're cooking as possible. The next row, so you've got zone one, two, three, and four, the next zone is going to be things that you might visit once every few days or once every week. That would be like a typical Food Forest. And then, you go out a little bit more and a little bit more, pretty soon, you've got your timber, where you might visit that or harvest that once a year. And so, it's all about the interaction of, how am I going to conserve and use my energy wisely?

[00:29:15] Luke Storey: And what's the difference between, there's kind of a hierarchical structure of, you have chemical-laden sort of manufactured food in a conventional farm, where there are all these inputs of pesticides, and herbicides, and fake fertilizers, and all that, then you have kind of monocrop organic food, and then you have, I guess, permaculture, and then what seems to be the most next level to me is biodynamic.

[00:29:43] So, I think a lot of people think if they're eating organic food from Whole Foods that it's really healthy, but I would be—I mean, I eat it, right? It's better than conventional. But it's suspect in terms of what's actually going into the fertilizer, even in organic food. So, in your opinion, I guess, what's the hierarchy of like the shittiest possible farmed food? I guess speaking of vegetables, leaving animals aside, down to like, what is the ultimate?

[00:30:10] Jim Gale: So, a few things to unpack there. One is any food grown with poisons, it's not the natural way. If it's not the natural way, it's not going to be natural and healthy for our bodies. Then, we talked about Whole Foods. The average time between farm-to-market for Whole Foods is like 11 days, right? So, that means the plant was picked, at minimum, probably two weeks before it was ready to be picked.

[00:30:37] Nature's perfect. Nature's perfect in the efficiency and the resiliency. So, a vine-ripened plant is going to look better, it's going to taste better, it's going to be more nutrient-dense than a plant that was picked two weeks before it was ripe. In Costa Rica, we'd go in and see, I went and saw one of the distribution centers for bananas, and all the bananas were like green, green. And I'm like, oh, cool, when are these going to market? And they said, oh, we're going to send them all tomorrow. And I said, God, they're not even close. He goes, oh, we spray the spray on them, and that makes them yellow in a day, like, wow, so they're not even close to as nutrient-dense or as tasty.

[00:31:15] And yeah, and that's why you see a little bit of a brown banana that says organic at the store. It's going to be way healthier, more enzymes and more life in it than a banana that looks perfect and it's perfectly yellow. And so, a lot of different things to unpack there, but the natural way when you walk right outside your door, and you look around, and you see a bunch of peaches on a peach tree, you know which one's ripe, you go up, you grab it, and you're like, oh, my gosh, that one's ripe, taste it, it just drips down.

[00:31:44] Luke Storey: And so, in addition to just the immediacy and kind of following nature when something's ready, I'm thinking that there's got to be a deficit in nutrition when you have a monocrop. A lot of people think eating a bunch of kale is healthy, like, oh, I eat a bunch of organic kale, but in what you're describing with the permaculture is all of these plants are not only growing in a more natural way, but they're having a relationship with one another, right?

[00:32:13] Jim Gale: Yeah.

[00:32:13] Luke Storey: So, maybe you could talk about how the plants and this system actually support one another.

[00:32:18] Jim Gale: Absolutely. So, there are different kind of classifications of plants within our Food Forest company system, and we're putting together this huge chart of plants per zone, per classification. So, you've got your food producers and your medicine producers, your edibles, and then almost all of those have multi-functions, right?. Also, they create flowers and they are pollinator tractors, but in some cases, we plant a fire bush or a row of flowers, many times, they're also edible. And so, those are specifically there to attract the butterflies and the bees. And then, we plant nitrogen fixers. 

[00:32:55] They're very important. Our soil needs nitrogen. And so, any of the legumes, the beans, and the peas, you plant the nitrogen fixers all throughout the Food Forest, and they will start building nitrogen in the soil. And then, the chop and drop plants, plants like Mexican sunflower and many more, where a moringa grow pretty fast, where you chop them, and you drop them onto the floor of your Food Forest, and they will actually build soil over time. So, instead of depleting a system which is unsustainable, you're actually adding to and regenerating, which is the opposite, which is pure life, and you let it go, and it just goes on its own.

[00:33:33] Luke Storey: What's your definition of sustainability?

[00:33:36] Jim Gale: A sustainable system is a system that produces more energy than it takes to create and maintain. So, it's a net positive, which is so easy when you've got the wind, and the sun, and the rain. In other words, anything unsustainable is almost purposely unsustainable, like it's just insane to have an unsustainable system when we've got energy all around us.

[00:33:59] Luke Storey: Yeah. I was watching a documentary a couple of years ago, I forget what it was called, it something around the water wars, and it was about the almond orchards in California, like in Central California, and you see all this infighting with the landowners, and these big corporations come in, and buy swaths of land, and they put a well in, and they're stealing all the water out of the aquifer from the little man that's had the farm for three generations and all this kind of stuff.

[00:34:25] And I just thought, are almonds really worth it? Like there's got to be a better way to do it. And meanwhile, you have the end consumer that's like, I'm healthy, I'm eating almonds, and I'm not eating factory-farmed meat or whatever. I would argue there's probably a case for that, but it is kind of alarming to see the amount of waste and just stupidity that goes into our food production system, especially for you, someone that's that knowledgeable, you must just be like, ah, pulling your hair out.

[00:34:53] Jim Gale: Well, it's an opportunity of a lifetime. It's the business of a lifetime. I'm 52. I've never felt better. I have never been more inspired and empowered in my life, and never been so just happy to do what I'm doing. And the magic that's happening around what we're doing is I'm also a numbers guy and a math guy, and I like asking questions like, what's the reason for this, and this, and this? There's no logic behind the growth that we're experiencing, that the whole world is experiencing, as we wake up to the insanity that you're referring to. It's just nuts. The solution then becomes the opportunity for our generation, to actually usher in a new world, again, to usher in a world of the Garden of Eden ideal, where there's literally just abundance everywhere.

[00:35:44] Luke Storey: How do kids take to this? Like I'm imagining the people that you guys serve, and we'll talk how that happens in a moment, but I bet kids just love this when their parents get on board with this and they start transforming their yard. I mean, the kids just like innately know this is the way to do things and have fun with it.

[00:36:02] Jim Gale: They absolutely do. So, we've got a baby girl, Sophia, and we have all these berries in our backyard. And every multiple times a day, before she could even talk, she would try to say berries, but she would point. And I knew what she meant, right? And sometimes, I'm like, we're just out there. But then, I go, okay, wait a minute, this would be—and then I'm like, okay, let's go get some berries. 

[00:36:24] So, I'd have her on my shoulder, sometimes, I'd put her down in the grass, and she was the best berry finder. Towards the end of the several months that the berries were prolific and expansive, there would be very few left, and she'd be looking, she'd be like, da, da, da, da, there's one, and I have to dig my arm in there, and come out with a bloody arm sometimes, but it was worth it, to get that last berry that was buried under there. Kids, something innate in our being that resonates with this idea of having food, it's just magical when you see them, they're like, oh, my gosh, and a lot of kids, where they're in food deserts, where 7-Eleven and Taco Bell are the only food that they have, right?

[00:37:08] And that's why you wonder why the diabetes is so prevalent, and all these dis-eases and diseases, because it doesn't just affect our bodies, it's a psychosomatic system, right? It also radically affects our ability to think and to discern. And again, this is not by accident, this is all very well-defined and very openly spoken strategy of control. So, if the strategy is of control, the solution is food growing everywhere.

[00:37:35] Luke Storey: Do you think there's going to be any point if this really does take off as a movement that the powers that be that have sort of jostled their way into this control grid that we're all under, whether we know it or not, do you foresee a time when there's going to be legislation that wants to prevent people from growing food in their yard, or are there any limitations like that, or outside of an HOA or something where you have aesthetic rules or things like that? I mean, it seems to me, if vast numbers of people become empowered in this way, that there could be some pushback on that.

[00:38:11] Jim Gale: There has been forever. The warring armies would go in, the first thing they do is kill the farmers and take the food crops. Food supply chains, if you look at any military structure, military strategy, controlling the food supply is number one.

[00:38:27] Luke Storey: Ah, right. Like Mao.

[00:38:29] Jim Gale: Like Mao and like Henry Kissinger. He said, if you want to control people, control food. That wasn't the ramblings of a lunatic. That was the strategy of a person in charge of implementing the strategy.

[00:38:41] Luke Storey: An evil genius. I always wonder, not to be evil myself, but is that guy ever going to die? Like he's been like wreaking havoc behind the scenes. Some of these people, I think, how can you live that long when you're full of such darkness? It's just bizarre.

[00:38:57] Jim Gale: And why did he meet with every president? Who put him up to that? And the who is the people that we are now decentralizing from. And not through war. I mean, gardening or growing food is the act of the ultimate revolution. The relavusion of our society, literally, it's that simple. And there are so many BS, belief systems, and bad science, and bullshit, that have been programmed into us about this idea of growing food, and when we do it in the way that permaculturalists have proven all over the world, we attain freedom on levels that we haven't had for a long time.

[00:39:38] Luke Storey: I think one barrier to entry and maybe it is one of those preconceived ideas is that like I was describing with my brief experience of attempting to do an urban garden, even with help, I found it to be really difficult and cumbersome. I think a barrier to entry is people just think it's going to be too hard, and I don't have time, and this, and that. But when I hear you talk, I mean, I don't think it's just like a sales technique, but you make it sound like you don't have to do that much once you're up and running, because of the way the system supports itself. Like how much time does a small family actually have to invest to make this a meaningful endeavor?

[00:40:14] Jim Gale: Have you ever been out in the woods and come across a berry bush, a raspberry bush, strawberries, blueberries, a fruit tree, anything edible, or even just anywhere, really? Like we're on the edge of a community, yeah, right?

[00:40:27] Luke Storey: Yeah. 

[00:40:27] Jim Gale: Yeah. So, who maintains that?

[00:40:29] Luke Storey: One of my favorites is watercress. You find watercress out in little springs and stuff like that.

[00:40:34] Jim Gale: Right. And who maintains that? The answer is nobody, yet it's still there. And that's one plant that was probably planted by a bird, or a bear, or some animal that defecated, and that seed germinated, and now, one year later, a hundred years later, a thousand years later, like there's an olive tree on the Greek Isle of Crete that's been producing olives for 2,000 years. Who maintains it? Something bigger than us, right? So, when you design and stack a Food Forest, instead of having one berry bush, all of a sudden, you've got 50, a hundred, 300, a thousand different types of food growing in an area by design, by intention. That's the type of society that I'm talking about.

[00:41:14] Luke Storey: What kind of lead time are you looking at with the, it's the perennials that take longer, right? Fruit trees.

[00:41:20] Jim Gale: Yeah.

[00:41:20] Luke Storey: And like with an olive tree, peach tree, if I was to go plant one of those today, am I looking at two years before you see anything, three years, four years until it's just up and running?

[00:41:30] Jim Gale: Yeah. So, it depends on how big you purchase it. The demand has been so high over the last couple of years, the supply is dwindling, and nowadays, a lot of times, you can find like maybe an 18-month-old tree that might be three to six feet tall. And that tree might have five fruit after it's in the ground six months to a year, right? The next year, it might have 25 fruit. Within four years, you've got a flourishing food producer that might produce literally enough just in that year to pay for it. So, now, you're talking about a cash ROI of over 100% within four to five years. Now, where else can you get that kind of ROI that doesn't include all the other returns, the yields beyond money?

[00:42:15] Luke Storey: It was interesting to hear you say that, because I'm thinking back to all my years in California, and there would be trees like a persimmon tree, for example, something that people don't eat a lot, and even sometimes, avocados. And these are old growth trees and it's just all over the ground. There are just rotting persimmons everywhere, and then they just [making sounds] they just fall and splatter on the ground, and you can't even get to them. Even in my yard in LA, actually, I'm thinking about this, I had a couple of fruit trees. I don't even know what they were, but I couldn't get to them fast enough.

[00:42:44] It was kind of like, what were they? God, I don't know. Actually, I emailed the landlord, I was like, what is this fruit? Is it edible? And of course, I tried it even without asking her, and I didn't die, but it was producing so many of these damn things, it was almost like a nuisance. They were just like splattered all over the back patio and I would have had to actually be mindful enough to go out, and collect them, and stuff, but they also kind of went bad quickly, which is maybe why they're not a popular fruit, but that's very true. Once they're kind of up and running, it's almost like more than you know what to do with, in some cases.

[00:43:18] Jim Gale: Yeah, that's right. A lot of people do feel guilty, they see a bunch of fruits on the ground, they're like, oh, I didn't eat—that's good. They go back into the system. Like this fall, a lot of people have huge bags, dozens of bags of leaves that they're putting on the curb, so somebody can take those leaves away. Those leaves are nature's way of replenishing the soil, and you take them out of the system, it's the wrong thing to do.

[00:43:45] Luke Storey: Can you grow olives in Texas area?

[00:43:49] Jim Gale: Yes, I believe you can. I know we're growing them in Florida, but I don't know, for certain, about different parts of Texas, maybe not.

[00:43:58] Luke Storey: Got it. Yeah, I love olives. I had a friend that had a property in Ojai, California. She was on, I think, five acres, and all around the house, speaking of a nuisance, all around the house is just all olive trees. And at a certain time of year, you'd walk around and they were just everywhere. And I'd walked around, and just picked them up, and ate them, that's gross, it's got dirt on them, I'm like, what do you think you're made of?

[00:44:19] Jim Gale: Exactly, yeah.

[00:44:20] Luke Storey: I mean, I always like the idea, too, of eating food off the—in a clean, not in a city, obviously, but eating it off the ground and like getting some of that microbiome.

[00:44:28] Jim Gale: And the magnesium and all the different things that we're lacking now, because we're not eating from the dirt. And there's so much, so many different micronutrients in the dirt that humanity is void of now, and that's a big part of the dis-ease and disease system that we got.

[00:44:47] Luke Storey: So, in a permaculture system, when we're not using artificial inputs like fertilizer and things like that, what are we doing to keep the soil robust? Do you ever play with things like rock dust minerals or diluted seawater, any of this kind of fancy stuff?

[00:45:02] Jim Gale: Absolutely. We like to kick it off with worm castings, rock dust, biochar, sometimes, the diluted seawater. All of those things are good starters, because they get it germinated or kicked off. They have the catalyst. And then, this is the number one thing that everybody can do right now, if you've got fruit trees in your backyard or bushes, is get some warm casting, some biochar, and put mulch on top.

[00:45:29] Lay that down on the ground, and then get four inches of mulch, four inches of woodchips, because it's that interaction between the edges that is so powerful, between the edge of the soil. You never want, like what happened to you, the rains came and washed away your soil. So, if you'd had mulch on there, the rains would hit, and it would have sunk that water into the ground, and now, you've got more life instead of less life.

[00:45:53] Luke Storey: And so, in this system, we're not really using any kind of fertilizer other than what's being generated from the soil. Is that right?

[00:46:01] Jim Gale: Yes. And sometimes, people have inputs like chickens. Some people have cattle, some horses. And they let that manure age, and then they mix that with the compost, the leave piles, they do certain chop and drop techniques, they throw it all in a big bunch, and they spread that out, and that's going to increase the yield. It's going to increase the rapidity of the growth.

[00:46:22] Luke Storey: And what about composting? How necessary is that? Like again, I've not done that, but I always think, oh, composting, I mean, you're probably a really good person if you compost, but it just seems like a pain in the ass, just managing it and stuff like that. Is that an integral part of a Food Forest or could one produce food without actually composting their waste?

[00:46:43] Jim Gale: Right. So, you can, but when you turn composting, the element of composting, into a multi-beneficial thing, then it's a win-win. So, in other words, a lot of people think of composting as you have a compost or in a bucket of putrefied, rotten, stinky fly.

[00:46:59] Luke Storey: That's what I think.

[00:47:00] Jim Gale: Right. But here's the best way to compost, is let's say you've got your Food Forest in your backyard and you have certain areas of high density, where you've got four or five plants within an area this big, and you could put a little circle in the middle, you throw some compost there, and then you've got 20 or 30 of these little circles around your yard, you throw your compost every other day, or, let's say, every seventh day, you throw your compost in a particular area, it never builds up, and creates that smell or the flies. The worms then come up and eat that compost, and then the roots of the plants go towards it. The worms go down and leave their worm castings, and now, it's radically simple.

[00:47:41] Luke Storey: Oh, that's cool. And then, what about pest control? A couple of times, I've tried to grow food, I mean, I'd go out there and spray it with like garlic water. I tried these like homespun remedies and I never could quite get it. How are we dealing with the animals and plants that want to eat the food that we want to eat?

[00:48:01] Jim Gale: Yeah. So, the best system is one that's diversified, where you'll have a certain bug problem. Well, a couple of little stories here, because I want to bust another BS, is spiders, and wasps, and different things. So, spiders and snakes even, spiders and snakes, in total, kill 11 people out of 330 million a year, and those people are probably already sick.

[00:48:27] Luke Storey: Well, I'm glad to hear that, because they have some gnarly ass spiders out here in Texas. I saw one the other night, it was legit. It wasn't a tarantula, but it was as big as a tarantula. And I was sitting there with the good old boy from Texas, and I was like, look at that, and he's like, what? I mean, he didn't even know it, he's just not impressed at all, he's lived here forever. And I kept checking behind to see, I'm like, dude, that thing's never going to come near you, it's just enjoying its life over there, relax.

[00:48:52] Jim Gale: Isn't that great? So, we have been programmed into fearing, now, spiders take out about 500 metric tons of insects per year. So, a spider web in a Food Forest is your best friend. That's your defense. A wasp nest in a Food Forest is an incredible defense. The food that's getting eaten by the beetle or the army worm will release pheromones. The pheromones to the wasp flying over have a certain color. The wasp will see the color [making sounds] lunch.

[00:49:24] The wasp becomes your protector of your Food Forest. Same with the snake. You get Food Forest going on, you're going to have some rats, some mice, right? But when you have a balanced system, then those animals are part of the system. And what's more scary, the hundreds of millions of people who are going to get cancer, 50%, a lot of people think cancer is genetic. We're told by the powers that be that cancer is genetic, yet a hundred years ago, like a few percent of people got cancer, now, 50%, well, that blows the whole door off the genetic theory.

[00:49:55] Luke Storey: Yeah, I think it's the gene called glyphosate.

[00:49:59] Jim Gale: Yeah, you nailed it.

[00:50:02] Luke Storey: Yeah.

[00:50:03] Jim Gale: And fear.

[00:50:03] Luke Storey: Yeah. So, in this system we're working, how to create this synergistic relationship. And then, it sounds like there's a certain degree of deprogramming that's got to go into place, where if you saw a rodent in your backyard, you don't freak out, because you know that it's just the natural course of things, and a snake's going to come along, or a freaking possum, or whatever it is going to come along and take care of it. I don't know if possums eat rats, but you get the point.

[00:50:29] Jim Gale: Well, possums actually are great protectors. Possums are the wood tick's number one predator. They kill tens of thousands of wood ticks a year.

[00:50:38] Luke Storey: Wow.

[00:50:38] Jim Gale: Yeah. So, possums are fantastic, and people say, oh, possums, they're dangerous. While they can get rabies, they do kill some snakes, like they're awesome critters. In fact, we do possum boxes in any of our Food Forest customers who want possums.

[00:50:51] Luke Storey: Really?

[00:50:52] Jim Gale: Yeah, I know they look kind of funky, and people, I hate them, because they got a long tail like a rat, and they look really crazy, but they're fantastic creatures.

[00:50:58] Luke Storey: Dude, when I was a kid in Northern California, I'm trying to think how they get in, maybe we left the garage door open, but a number of times, I caught them eating the cat food. We keep the cat food bowl out in the garage, and you're in the middle of the night, you got to do the laundry, and turn the light, and [making sounds] there's a possum there, and they're kind of not afraid of you.

[00:51:16] I don't know if they just get stunned, but he'd kind of just sit there and go, what are you going to do? It's like, ah. But again, that's that kind of programming. And when you hear these kind of cultural memes of, well, possums will bite you. Well, who's going to go down and like try to grab a possum by its snoot? You kind of just leave it alone and it ends up wandering off. 

[00:51:34] Jim Gale: Right. That would be a good thing to Google. How many people die of possum bites a year? I bet it's zero, right? And yeah, we got the fear, but yet we're not scared of cancer. We're not scared of glyphosate. We're not scared of the things that are actually destroying our world. And that's good marketing. That's billions of dollars of marketing.

[00:51:51] Luke Storey: That's a good point. When I go into every once in a while kind of a mainstream grocery store, let's just say, I remember years ago, I had only gone to these really high-end health food stores in LA. There's a place called Erewhon, and I mean, it'll cost you a lot to go in there, but I would make room. So, I shopped there, and maybe Whole Foods here and there, but pretty much, that was my go-to. And then, every once in a while, I'd go in and store like Ralph's, or Albertsons, or something, and walk in there, I think, I'm going to go get some grass-fed butter, just something quick that I need to pick up, and I'd walk in, and look at the shelves, and I go, people still eat this stuff? 

[00:52:25] I thought everyone stopped when I did in the '90s. I go in, it's Trix are for kids, the whole sugar and GMO corn cereal aisle, and I'm just like, oh, man, I feel so bad. It's not a judgmental thing. It's just, I feel compassion for people that have just kind of been born into the system, where they think that stuff is food and it is literally poison. It's actual poison.

[00:52:48] Jim Gale: It's actual poison. And they don't see through their real eyes. They don't realize it, because of the programming. And so, that's what I love doing, is helping to bust through that programming by having these talks.

[00:53:00] Luke Storey: And what about larger animals? I'm thinking in my neighborhood, there's a crap load of deer. And I love them. I was going to like put deer corn out in the yard and bring them in. And then, everyone said, they're going to bring a lot of ticks. You don't want to bring a bunch of deer in your yard. But I was thinking about in the front of my house, there's a lot of just wasted land, there's a few decorative plants, but there's nothing really happening out there, and you wouldn't really go sit in the front yard of my house, it's on the street, et cetera, and I thought, oh, I could grow a bunch of food there, they're like, it'll be gone in a day because of the deer. And you mentioned before putting these prickly, thorny bushes around it, is there anything else you could do to keep deer out of your good food? I mean, do you have to put up fences, or wire over it, or what?

[00:53:41] Jim Gale: So, I love fences for that reason and for different reasons, because every fence becomes a food fence or a trellis. And when you have a typical fence, let's say it's chain link or even a wood fence, it looks way better when it's completely green. And a green fence, a deer, they can jump over a 2D object, but if you have a 3D object, so if you have a fence, let's say, in some different even a meter away, you have one line of electric fence, if you're like way out in the country, and then you put some tinfoil on there with some butter, they come up, lick it once, and they're gone, they tell all their friends, right?

[00:54:16] Luke Storey: Are you serious?

[00:54:17] Jim Gale: Yeah. Or the raspberries, you combine them and you have some maybe raspberries along the edge of a fence, now, you've got a really good buffer that the deer typically aren't going to jump over.

[00:54:28] Luke Storey: That's good tip. That's a good tip. So, they approached the fence and they don't know that it's only two feet deep of vines or something, they just see this massive thing, and so they're less prone to try to hop over it.

[00:54:39] Jim Gale: Exactly. Right.

[00:54:40] Luke Storey: Oh, that's cool. What else can you grow on a fence other than grapes?

[00:54:44] Jim Gale: In Florida, we're huge of passion flower, and gac fruit, and there's even perennial, like lettuces, spinaches that grow on fences, anything that vines is really good, or you can even train a fig or different types of other plants, moringa, to be a natural fence. And those are really cool, too. They take more time, though. A lot of people who want to start growing food, they don't want to have a fence that takes them three or four years to actually come in, especially if they've got all the other stuff around.

[00:55:13] Luke Storey: That's a good point. Yeah, especially like imagine you build a brand new fence, and you're like, alright, we're going to do the thing, and you wait around a couple of years. When does the first grape come? Dammit. Let's see, man. There are so many things I wanted to ask you. Let me check my notes here. I went on the fly, I didn't need notes, which is always a good sign that I'm talking to someone interesting.

[00:55:34] Oh, I know what it is. So, you talk about what a waste this monocrop of lawns are, and I mean, I think lawns look pretty, they're manicured, it creates a nice space, but I really find a utilitarian purpose in lawns are just people go hang out on lawn, roll around, take a nap, play some ball, fool around. Is there a ratio of, in a backyard, how much lawn you want to keep versus how much you want to actually use for food?

[00:56:03] Jim Gale: So, the ratio is completely personal choice. What we love to do in permaculture is work the edges. So, let's say you've got a backyard that's 50 feet by 50 feet, and you take four to six feet along the edge of that yard, and then maybe in the corners, you come out 10 feet. And maybe you have another couple of areas where you've got little circles, where you've got one fruit tree, and then all of the component plants, the community of plants in there. And just using that edge, you can create an incredible amount of food by stacking. You've got your roots and tubers, your sweet potatoes and things, all the way up to the over stories.

[00:56:41] Luke Storey: And when it comes to food that you don't end up going out to pick, like I was describing the persimmons just plopping on the ground and just going back into the soil, in a permaculture system, how much pruning and things like that are necessary to keep the plants producing? And when they do produce, if you don't use it, God forbid, you're wasting food, but I'm sure it happens, do you just kind of let it do its thing?

[00:57:03] Jim Gale: Yeah, it's a cycle of life. You're not wasting, you're just actually composting. You're putting it right back in, and the worms are going to come up and eat that food. They're going to create worm castings, everything's better off. And that's why we like to put in some extra plants that are specifically for creating green manure or green mulch. Your question right before that was what?

[00:57:24] Luke Storey: Pruning. 

[00:57:24] Jim Gale: Pruning. Oh, I love this one. This one is so fun. So, most people, when you prune, so you get a fruit tree, and to prune, you want to open up certain areas, so the sun and the air can get in there. And so, the energy will go into the fruit production instead of creating bigger branches and more leaves.

[00:57:42] Luke Storey: Like when you grow cannabis. 

[00:57:44] Jim Gale: There you go, yeah. You want to prune at the right time, so then you have more buds. So, same exact thing with a fruit tree. But here's where it gets magical. So, pruning, let's say you prune a stick branch and it takes you like a couple of seconds, right? You cut that thing off and you lay it on the ground. If you go out there 10 weeks ahead of time, and you cut a little notch around the bark, and you put a gadget there, even a tennis ball with soil and rooting compound in there, it's called air layering, you put that on there, and then 10 weeks later, you cut that off, and you've got a brand new 20-dollar fruit tree.

[00:58:18] So, you just spent three, or four, or five minutes, you just made $20, times a thousand branches in your Food Forest, you can pay somebody 20 bucks an hour to go do that after a tiny bit of training, now, you've just made a huge profit by what was typically an expense or a liability, you just turned it into an asset, and you've become part of the supply chain, and that's what we need. We need more people creating nurseries and becoming part of the supply chain.

[00:58:49] Luke Storey: Wow, that's super cool. So, you're creating a clone, basically?

[00:58:52] Jim Gale: Yeah.

[00:58:52] Luke Storey: Right. Interesting. You mentioned moringa, which is a great medicinal herb. Can you integrate things like ashwagandha or any other, not food plants, but really traditional herbal medicines into permaculture?

[00:59:11] Jim Gale: Absolutely. They're a big part of it. We just built, at Adrian's place, we built a Chinese medicine wheel theme, and it's phenomenal. It's oriented northeast, south, and west, and it's got all these different medicinal herbs in there. But yes, medicinal is are an incredible part of a Food Forest, and they're also functional in other ways. A lot of them are flowering, a lot of them have beautiful smells. Dr. Ian Scott, my partner, in his front door, he's got three different types of flowering and very fragrant plants that one of them comes on early spring, one of them is midsummer, and the other one is late fall. So, you walk into his house and there's always a new smell, a beautiful smell.

[00:59:54] Luke Storey: Oh, that's very cool.

[00:59:55] Jim Gale: That cool.

[00:59:56] Luke Storey: So, how do people work with you and your company? I've watched you over the past few months that we've been chatting about sitting down here and recording grow to where, now, you have, for lack of a better term, kind of a franchise where people can go learn how to do the installations. And it's not only where you're providing people the opportunity to grow their own food, but also people to start their own business.

[01:00:21] I'd love to hear kind of the latest news on all that, because right now, so many people are out of work and so many things are shifting. I mean, I get messages from people all the time that they've been forced to quit their job, because of mandates, and things like that, and they're like, what am I going to do? And it seems like this could be a pretty cool opportunity for both sides of that, the consumer and a provider,

[01:00:43] Jim Gale: It's the best opportunity in the world. We are in the midst of the biggest transition in human history. It took us hundreds of years to get to radically unsustainable. And unsustainable and death are the same thing. Now, over the next five, 10, maybe 20 years, we are going to be radically abundant. And our job as a business is to keep putting it back and putting it back. And we're going to be out of business, at least our core business, which, right now, is designing and installing edible landscapes. 

[01:01:12] That'll be done, because there'll be food everywhere within 20 years. So, the business model is we—in fact, the franchise word comes up a lot. I actually spent about a quarter million dollars getting a franchise model ready. It was going to be with the fancy green house, and then permaculture edible landscapes. And through the process, I had a 244-page FDD, Federal Franchise Disclosure Document, and an 89-page operations manual.

[01:01:39] And I held it and it made me sick. It represented everything that I'm against. And every line in there was a line about control and about fear. I threw the whole pile of shit in the trash. And we now have a two-page contract. We have no non-competes, no non-disclosures, no patents, and we invite anybody who wants to take this idea, you can take everything we're doing other than our brand. That's ours. Everything else, anybody could copy it and duplicate this model.

[01:02:13] You could take our pictures. I don't care. Take it all, and use it, except for our brand, and do the same thing. What we would encourage is even a better route is work with us. Let's collaborate and this is where it's going viral. This is where it's scalable. A little back story, I created a mortgage company back when I was 30, and within about three-and-a-half years we went from zero, me broke in my mom's basement after traveling, to about 1.3 billion dollars in sales and 480 loan officers in three-and-a-half years.

[01:02:43] Luke Storey: Damn, son. So, you know how to scale.

[01:02:45] Jim Gale: That's exactly right. And my whole thought has always been, how do we scale this globally? We just opened New Zealand, Australia. We've got Food Forest cooperatives going in everywhere. A cooperative is a business model, it's exactly like landscaping, except for its functional landscaping, its food forestry. And it's profitable, a three or four-day install that takes three or four guys, three or four days, it's got a profit margin of about 40% on a 15,000-dollar average job. You're looking at five, six grand net in your pocket after four days of work.

[01:03:23] Luke Storey: Wow. That's super cool. So, in the B2C realm of your business model, a guy like me can go on your site, buy a blueprint, and then hire someone from your team directly to come out to my place, and do the install. And like if I just want it one and done, you guys do that, or if someone's looking at this more as a business opportunity in a B2B thing, you'd train them. Is there any kind of a certification involved or how do they get up to speed on actually how to do it to make money at it?

[01:03:53] Jim Gale: So, to buy our marketing package, I actually was able to take a zero off, because I don't have all the franchise BS, right? So, it's 2,950 and that's our full marketing package. That's everything we've produced, which is tens of thousands of dollars' worth of assets to help people get to market, including a 54-hour class on permaculture that can be done in your underwear at night, on your computer, and very incredible information.

[01:04:18] Mostly, Bill Mollison and Jeff Lawton are the teachers of this class. And by the time people are done with this class, they have a whole new view of the world and what's possible. Then, our team, our internal mission is to serve the cooperative. The cooperative is our partner that's on the ground actually installing these food forests. So, here's how a typical process works. We're getting the message out everywhere. Somebody calls us up, and says, I'd like a food forest at my house. Okay. Great. It all starts with design.

[01:04:49] Design is job one, to make sure that it's designed right. When we're done with the design, which takes about two-and-a-half, three weeks, it's a custom design. Every design is custom. It comes with a 45-page document that's called a Food Forest blueprint, and that layers all of the different elements of how to create your sheet mulching. And basically, it's a DIY-able document. So, anybody who wants, and we encourage this, can DIY their own food forest. Most people don't want to, because their time, they're busy, or whatever, and those people, we can have our cooperative team come in and do the whole system, the whole install for you. It's scalable.

[01:05:27] Luke Storey: This is badass. It's so great. I mean, I love healthy food, first off, and I love that interdependence. And just especially now, II mean, I've always been that way. I just want to do my own thing, be left alone, leave other people alone, and just take care of my shit. But now, as we talked about a little earlier, there's a sense of urgency, because I think we're seeing how fragile the system is in many ways.

[01:05:57] You look at the supply chain crisis that we're having, these cargo ships sitting outside of Long Beach for two months. I mean, it's weird. It's getting weird. Even if you're a positive person like me and I'm eternally optimistic, it's still kind of like, huh, I don't know. I feel like now is a good time to start to get on board with this and at least begin to learn about it, so that as things progress, you don't pull the trigger before it's kind of too late.

[01:06:24] Jim Gale: Right. That's my concern as well. However, I'm an optimist and the number one control mechanism or tool is fear. And I went through a process of cognitive dissonance, a process of focusing so much on the problem that it sucked.

[01:06:41] Luke Storey: Yeah, I struggle with that, too, started with 9/11.

[01:06:45] Jim Gale: Me, too.

[01:06:46] Luke Storey: Yeah. But once I saw a few of those documentaries, I was like, oh, my God, we're doomed.

[01:06:50] Jim Gale: Yeah, a building can't fall into its own footprint at free fall speed. 

[01:06:54] Luke Storey: Especially Building 7.

[01:06:55] Jim Gale: There you go, man. Exactly, and yet 90% of the population never heard of Building 7, a 46-storey building that fell, and a plane didn't even hit the thing.

[01:07:04] Luke Storey: I was talking to someone yesterday about the Pentagon, and I was like, I was talking about my red pill moment, and for me, the 9/11 thing was, but specifically, the Pentagon. And I said, yeah, a friend of mine showed me this video that showed that there was no plane that ever hit the Pentagon. And he was like, wait, what? No, a plane hit the thing. I said, that's what I thought, go back and watch the videos, there's no sign of a plane anywhere, any parts of a plane, no engine, no fuselage, no passengers, no seats, no debris.

[01:07:32] There's not even wing marks where the supposed plane hit. Anyway, I could go on and on. But I think, ultimately, it's a positive thing when one is open-minded, yet still discerning, and you at least start to just go, okay, I don't know what happened or what is happening, a lot of people have theories about what's happening right now, who knows? On the most extreme, they want to depopulate the planet and they're doing so intentionally. On the least extreme, they're being deceptive and everyone's making a bunch of money, at the top, right?

[01:07:59] Jim Gale: Yeah. One, it's ignorance. The other ones, it's either psychopathic evil or evil-evil, or we're in a simulated reality of our own making as spirit playing a game.

[01:08:09] Luke Storey: Yeah, I like that one. I think that's probably what I'm landing with it. It gives me some solace, because this duality, it serves a purpose. But regardless of where someone falls on the spectrum of paranoia versus optimism, I think anyone that's just willing to be honest with themselves sees the value in building something new. And I think that's a part of your perspective that I like. 

[01:08:35] It's not like we're going to go tear the system down and bomb the capital. It's like, no, let the system just do its thing, it's going to run out of gas eventually anyway, because it's not sustainable, according to your definition of it, which I agree with. So, how about if we just build a parallel reality over here, where each little family, one at a time, is just starting to do their own thing?

[01:08:56] Jim Gale: 100%. We rise above the control mechanisms of fear, and food control, and all these things, and we then just do what is better for us. It's completely selfish, and yet it's also serving, right? And when you can align selfishness with serving, then you've got the best of everything. And the magic, man, I started meditating really about nine, 10 months ago, deep, which, to me, just means I can feel my hands, like I can feel them right now, I can feel the energy, I can hear the vibration, I can feel.

[01:09:27] And then, all of a sudden, when I allow my mind to just chill the heck out, ideas come. And then, they're very potent ideas, like, oh, my God, I got to go do that. I go, I call somebody, I type something, I do something, and then that worked, okay, next idea, next idea. And I watch the show, Messiah, I don't know if you've ever seen that. It's on Netflix or something. I watched that show a couple of times, because that guy just sat there, and he'd wait for the idea, and he would just act like instantly, and I'm like, that's freaking exactly right. I'll just wait for the idea, and the magic, like for instance, this is still so mind-blowing to me.

[01:10:04] I'm not really a TV guy, I never have been, but I've had my favorite shows, and one of my favorite shows was the Crocodile Hunter with Steve Irwin. And when he died, I cried, right? I love that fella. And so, I get a call two months after Del's show aired, and it was the producers of the Crocodile Hunter, said Jim, we'd like to shine a light on you and your visions for society. I instantly said yes, because this is-

[01:10:26] Luke Storey: What? That's crazy.

[01:10:27] Jim Gale: It's crazy. This is part of the intentionality that I put out to the universe, is let's bring in big, let's go big, let's change the world. If you can conceive and believe it, you can achieve it, I can conceive and believe that we're going to change the world. And boom, less than six months later, and then Adrian called two days later, the number one TV star for like five or six years running, he was my favorite character in all of TV. So, I get a call from the producer and my favorite actor within two days of each other and we just finished a pilot that'll be seen by millions. It'll change a lot of people's lives.

[01:11:03] Luke Storey: Oh, it's so cool. Congratulations. Well, you're going to reach a few, I don't know how many, probably tens of thousands of people with this one. So, thank you for the work that you're doing and thank you for your time. I'm sure I could go on and on for a few more hours, but I feel this is a good stopping point. It gives people, I think, a nice overview of the whole thing in a way that's digestible and applicable.

[01:11:26] There was one last question, though, and that was aside from someone who says, you know what, I want a new career or my career went away, I want to start doing these installations and build my own business out of this, do you think there's any viability or potential in someone who's got a decent-sized piece of land to actually start bringing some of their food to a farmer's market, or something like that, or selling it to their neighbors and monetizing it in that way, or is there not enough kind of bulk that makes that possible?

[01:11:55] Jim Gale: Luke, that is just a softball, and I'm not even a good baseball, softball player, but I can nail that one out of park. A Food Forest is the ultimate stack of functionality relevant to our world today. So, let's say you have a food for us on some land, you do some syntropic rows, now, number one, you're creating beauty, and resiliency, and food for yourself.

[01:12:17] Number two, you're creating a demonstration system, which, in other words, you can demonstrate what's possible, and then you can fulfill that need in society, that massive need in society by serving the customer and doing the install. You create a little group of people around it, you also then become part of the supply chain. So, the Food Forest at your house that becomes a demonstration system is one of the wisest things we can do right now.

[01:12:43] Luke Storey: Wow. Cool. Love it, dude. My last question for you is, who have been three teachers or teachings that have influenced your life and your work that you might share with us?

[01:12:52] Jim Gale: Yeah, I love this. I'm going to go with not quite the mainstream, because everybody's talked about Napoleon Hill and that, Swami Rama, Living with the Himalayan Masters. I read the book several times. Blew my mind. Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe. Read the book several times. Blew my mind. And then, those two, and then there was one more, oh, David Hawkins, Power vs. Force.

[01:13:17] Luke Storey: Yeah, buddy. There you go. Did you listen to my show before? I always talk about David Hawkins?

[01:13:22] Jim Gale: No, fantastic, about understanding human psychology.

[01:13:26] Luke Storey: Incredible. Changed my life.

[01:13:28] Jim Gale: Yeah, me too.

[01:13:28] Luke Storey: I've read his books over and over again, then listened to him over and over again. And just when I think I got it, I'll take a break, then I go back. I just listen to one, In think it's called The Eye of the I. I hadn't heard that in quite some time. Some of them, like Power vs, Force was a good entry point. I was like, I kind of get this, and then I got into some other books, and I could only read a paragraph, my brain would be tired.

[01:13:49] But I went back and listened to that, and I was like, oh, my God, because I've evolved along with it. And my consciousness evolution, when I first read it, I could get bits and pieces, and it resonated as some deep truth, but now, it's a good affirmation, I think, to go back, and you go, well, I've actually applied some of this to my life to where it's not head knowledge. There is some applied wisdom in that. Yeah, he's just an endless treasure trove of teachings. It's amazing.

[01:14:17] Jim Gale: I'm going to listen to that tonight. I'm really excited about that.

[01:14:20] Luke Storey: Yeah, good stuff, man. I've sent his stuff to so many people, and I say, if you don't get it at first, just keep listening to it, by osmosis, if nothing else, eventually, it'll kind of sink in. But teachings like that of non-duality, really, the only way I've been able to psychologically get through what we're going through, to just understand that there's a design to this duality. And when I look at someone who I just think is the epitome of evil like a Bill Gates or a George Soros, I mean, there's a bunch of them, from one perspective, they really are playing their role perfectly, and also, oftentimes, are victims of their own trauma or their own misconceptions and diversions from truth, right?

[01:15:06] Jim Gale: I think they're miserable. And that doesn't forgive anything, but we're more than this. And so, when I realized that we're so much more than this, that we are in this contrast is what pushes us forward. That friction is what creates life and energy.

[01:15:25] Luke Storey: Yeah, right on, man. What about websites? Where can people find you on websites and all that?

[01:15:32] Jim Gale: Foodforestabundance.com. And we're all over. Now, we've got an incredible team, social media people, and just all over the place. Food Forest Abundance is kind of going out there everywhere.

[01:15:44] Luke Storey: And if someone like listening to this right now is like, ah, I want to do this tomorrow, are there only certain states that you guys do installations for? Is it all US or any outside of the US? Like what's your geographic area?

[01:15:58] Jim Gale: Everywhere now. We're now in 15 countries and 40 states in six months.

[01:16:03] Luke Storey: Really?

[01:16:04] Jim Gale: Yes, we've had millions of dollars invested. Every single Food Forest customer that I've talked to is wanting to become a demonstration site, so it's seeding and nourishing the rapid expansion of this.

[01:16:16] Luke Storey: Good for you, dude. So awesome. Well, thanks for making the time to come out today.

[01:16:20] Jim Gale: Thank you, brother. I'm so glad I did.

[01:16:22] Luke Storey: Me, too.


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